Keeping Children Healthy This Winter

On November 1, 2005 President Bush unveiled a 7 billion dollar strategy to prepare for the danger of the bird flu; I am revealing my totally affordable strategy to keep my children healthy this winter. I plan to do so by keeping germs at bay. The best plan you can have is an offensive plan.

1. Flu Shots
Last winter the influenza virus arrived at our household in the middle of winter. The entire household got sick running temperatures of 104F+; parents included. It was a miserable experience considering this was during the dismal dreary days of winter. Our family’s bout with the flu virus included a trip to the ER and a three day stay at the hospital for the youngest (only 2 weeks old at the time). This year our household includes two elderly residents and we are taking no chances. The CDC recommends that anyone who wants to avoid getting the flu should get the vaccine; everyone in this house is getting the flu shot. There is a lot of negative press about immunizations out there but I will take my chances; shots are much cheaper than the cost of being sick.

2. Washing Hands
After interrogating the kids about their hygiene habits at school, it became painfully apparent that most children do not wash their hands before meals at the school. Washing hands thoroughly and frequently can keep diseases from spreading.

Hands will be washed several times when preparing foods, after changing diapers (babies hands will be washed too), when anyone walks in from the outside especially from a store or school, before and after meals and whenever hands are dirty. The proper technique of washing hands will be reiterated:
� Wet hands using warm water
� Use soap and lather up
� Rub hands together rubbing the soap between your fingers and up to your wrists. This should be done for at least 20 seconds
� Rinse off the soap thoroughly
� Dry hands
Nails will be kept short to avoid being the breeding ground of germs. Hand sanitizers or bacterial wipes will be supplied for the children’s lockers and will be placed in the family vehicles.

3. Keeping “hot zone” surfaces clean, disinfected and dry
“Hot Zones” are surfaces in our house that are notorious for coming in contact with germs namely kitchen counters and bathroom surfaces. By washing bathroom and kitchen surfaces with disinfecting cleaners and keeping these surfaces dry will lessen the chances of germs breeding and spreading. Moist surface encourage the growth of bacteria and fungi therefore, kitchen sponges and towels will be washed carefully every night with disinfectant and wrung out and dried thoroughly. Sponges will be replaced every two weeks. Other hot zones in our house are light switches, door knobs, telephones, remotes controls and computer keyboards. These surfaces will be disinfected weekly and daily if anyone is sick.

4. Stay out of each others faces
As much as we are an affectionate family, blowing kisses picks up in popularity when there is a cold in the house. Getting in each others face is strictly prohibited; which means no kissing. The children will be expected to keep their hands away from own their ears, eyes and mouth. There will be an ample supply of tissues on hand for sneezing into or nose blowing. Used tissues will be immediately discarded. If someone has to sneeze, they will not sneeze into their hands but into a tissue if possible, if not into the crock of the elbow. Keep non food objects away from your mouth; no chewing on pencils, shirts and toys.

5. Healthy Snacks
Boost the children’s immune by eating more fruits and foods high in vitamins and immune boosters. Immune boosters are foods of color (dark green, yellow or red); broccoli, carrots, peppers, vitamin C; oranges, Omega-3 fatty acids; fish, flax seed (in cereals), and minerals; zinc and selenium.

6. Liquids.
Drink plenty of liquids to keep the system flushed; washing out potential toxins. Fluids also keep you hydrated and healthy. Our goal is to drink at least 8 eight ounce glasses of water a day.

7. No sharing
During the winter season the no-sharing rule is strongly enforced. No sharing food, drinks or utensils. Each child is assigned their own cup. A sick child is assigned toys which will be disinfected after use.

8. Isolate the sick child
Sick children with temperatures above 100+ or with a persistent cough will be kept home from school and kept from direct contact with the other siblings. At the least three feet away; cold virus can travel that far. This forces the child to rest and allows their body to rest and heal. It is my hope that other parents follow this rule and avert illness from spreading in the school setting.

9. Keeping Clean
Outer wear like coats and sweaters will be washed weekly in the hottest water the fabric can safely handle. Most germs can’t survive hot water. Same for bed covers and back packs. A sick child’s beddings will be washed every third day to stop the germs from re-infecting an already sick child.

10. Other Good health Habits
Sleep: Everyone will get enough sleep and rest. Early bedtimes in the winter time are enforced. A well rested body has a better chance of developing a strong defense against germs.
Exercise: Plenty of exercise helps boost your immune system making your body a powerful adversary against germs.

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